I had heard people say that God had spoken to them, but somehow I felt that I would never hear Him. My church had always taught that God doesn’t speak to us anymore, even though Jesus said that, “My sheep know my voice and they follow me.” I wanted to hear His voice, but I thought that maybe I was too dense, or too logical to be able to hear Him. That all changed about two weeks before Christmas in 2006.
People had been asking me what I wanted for Christmas, and kept telling them that I didn’t want anything. But it started me thinking. I decided to ask God for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. So that night, as I always do, I read some from the Bible and then I knelt down beside the bed and prayed. I told God that I didn’t want any earthly gifts, but I wanted to be baptized in the Holy Spirit as my Christmas gift. I felt proud of myself – maybe too proud. I felt that I was being a good Christian in rejecting any earthly gifts, and asking only for His Spirit. I felt God would surely be pleased with my request, and I certainly didn’t expect a response, and absolutely not the one that I received.
As I knelt there in self-satisfaction, I suddenly heard the words, “I gave you my son. Isn’t that enough?” Because the response was so far from my expectations, I knew immediately that it was God. I was shocked by what He said, because I knew exactly what He meant. 2000 years ago, He had given us His son, whose life and sacrifice was to bring salvation to all mankind. It was God’s greatest gift to us, and here I was asking for a Christmas present. Christmas is meant to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and his gift of salvation to us. Nothing else.
I felt like an idiot. I felt humiliated for being so shallow and unthinking. My mind raced as I tried to reword my request so that it didn’t sound so stupid, and then I realized that He was hearing my every thought. So I surrendered. I said that I was sorry, and that Jesus was all I needed – that he was all anyone needed. I said “Amen” and quickly got to my feet and left the bed room. I was so embarrassed that I could imagine the angels around God’s throne snickering and pointing at me. Oh, I know that an angel would never do that, and that by leaving the room, I had not left the presence of God. But somehow I wanted to get away from my embarrassment.
That night God taught me to hear His voice. He has spoken to me since that night – not as often as I would like. But perhaps it’s because I don’t always listen as often as I should. God speaks to us in many ways, through His Word, through others, or by just clearing a path for us. But sometimes He speaks directly to us, and we hear His voice. It’s important to pray to Him, but it’s equally important to listen. It’s good to know His voice. Merry Christmas.